THE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DRAFT AND PLAYER PERFORMANCE
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The evolution of business analytics has caused a fury within corporations in the implementation of statistical analysis as their core business strategy (Davenport). However, this unquenchable need, or desire, for businesses to differentiate themselves from one another through analytics has led to "tension between perception and reality regarding the adoption of management strategies" (Troilo). Academic literature provides insight into how managers perceive analytics to be more beneficial than the outcomes actually show them to be, and how, in actuality, the analytics may be more an imitation of other organizations than actual insight into a business revenue generation (Troilo). Inspired by the success of the Oakland Athletics and the popularity of Michael Lewis' 2013 best-selling book. Moneyball, professional sports began adopting business strategies similar to that of corporations around the globe. Professional sports organizations currently aspire to develop analytics with "the extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive models, and fact based management to drive decisions and add value" (Davenport). The sports industry aims to amplify the preconceived notion of analytics merely being used to drive revenue with the additional incorporation of nonprofit outcomes, such as organization wins and player performance. Thus, the goal of this paper is to focus upon the correlation between the National Football League Draft and overall player performance; this analysis will, then, improve business analytics and decision-making processes pertaining to the professional sports industry. Traditionally, “economic rationality as measured by the maximization of revenues, and sociological rationality exemplified by the search for legitimacy” have been scrutinized as contrasting viewpoints (Troilo). The incorporation of business operations stimulating both rationales will revolutionize not only the sports industry, but the corporate world as well. The remainder of this thesis is formulated as follows: First, the paper will explain the background of sports business and the importance revolutionizing its operation. That discussion will be followed by a literary review of current statistical operations used by sports organizations. Next, the paper will reveal the framework in which the data and variables will be sorted, leading into the methodology for how the variables were processed. Data analysis will be the pinnacle of this paper, affirming the inherent need for a contemporary business operations model. In addition, an examination of economic and sociological rationalities will be done that pertains to the correlation of a player’s draft position and his performance throughout his NFL career. Finally, the paper will conclude with a case analysis of the Cleveland Browns football organization which will further exemplify the statistical analysis.